Educational Foundation launches innovative Fralin Futures scholarship program

ric_adminAnnouncements, Educational Foundation, VWCC

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In a recent survey of incoming Virginia
Western Community College students, 92 percent reported they planned to work while
pursuing their degree. Nearly a third expected to log at least 20 hours a week,
on top of tackling a full-time or near full-time class load.

Those financial realities prompted the Virginia Western
Community College Educational Foundation to create an innovative scholarship
program that aims to couple full tuition support with living-expense stipends, career-focused
cohort activities, mentorships and additional degree-completion incentives. The
intent is to remove common obstacles facing community college students and to
help them cross the “finish line” to graduation.

Students
may apply for the Fralin Futures STEM-H Scholarship through May 1, 2019. To be
eligible, they must be within two semesters of graduating from Virginia Western
as of fall 2019, enrolled in a STEM-H program of study and maintain a minimum
3.0 GPA. The College expects to enroll 10 recipients, called Fralin Futures
Scholars, as a pilot program in fall 2019 – not long after a new $30 million
STEM building opens on campus.

The
Fralin Futures STEM-H Scholarship program is made possible by a $5 million gift
from the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust. The donation, initiated in 2013,
remains the largest-ever single gift to the College, and the largest donation
dedicated solely to scholarships in the history of the Virginia Community
College System. It established an endowment that will benefit generations of
Roanoke region students who seek careers in the region’s growing health care
and life-sciences sectors.

“It
is truly exciting that Virginia Western has been able to provide a quality
education to its outstanding students,” said W. Heywood Fralin, a member of the
Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors and Chairman of Medical Facilities
of America.  “It is because of this
quality that the Fralin Charitable Trust committed to fund these finish-line scholarships,
which that will provide residents of this region the opportunity to further
their education and position themselves to lead the next generation to great
success.”

The
Educational Foundation’s flagship effort is the Community College Access Program
(CCAP), which draws on public and private support to fund up to three years of
college for recent high school graduates. Founded in 2008, CCAP has provided
tuition support for nearly 2,500 Roanoke region students.

CCAP
historically focused on the “A” – for access – in spreading the message that
college is possible for everyone in the Roanoke region. The Fralin Futures
STEM-H program complements CCAP by focusing on a student completing his or her
educational journey. Unlike CCAP, which serves recent high school graduates,
Fralin STEM-H scholarships are open to students of all ages.

“We
believe this scholarship will make a real difference for students who have done
well at Virginia Western but might be forced to delay graduating because, quite
simply, life gets in the way,” said Amanda Mansfield, the Educational Foundation’s
Philanthropy Director. “Our older students, in particular, sometimes must
juggle taking care of their family and going to school. One financial bump in
the road can seriously derail an otherwise excellent student.”

The
recipient may use the living-expense stipend – which is equal to the tuition
award each semester – however he or she wishes.  “Medical bills, day care expenses, an
emergency car repair – these are all things that can throw students off track,”
Mansfield said.

Recipients
also may apply the stipend to their future tuition, giving them a financial
head start if they plan to transfer to a four-year school.

Fralin
Futures Scholars will benefit from organized cohort activities that expose them
to mentors and employers in the region’s STEM-H fields. The College has
established a partnership with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
that will provide these students a close-up view of the facility’s growth and
potential career pathways.

“Virginia
Western has been so fortunate to benefit from the vision and commitment of the
Fralin family,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, Virginia Western’s President. “They
understand that a key to building a stronger economy is educating our
workforce. And they wanted to make a lasting impact that will touch everyone in
the region.”

To
apply and learn more, go to virginiawestern.edu/FralinScholarships. Or contact
Carolyn Payne, Scholarship Coordinator at the Virginia Western Community
College Educational Foundation, at cpayne@virginiawestern.edu
or (540) 857-6371. The deadline to apply is May 1, 2019.

Fast Facts about
STEM-H at Virginia Western

  • 47
    percent of program-placed Virginia Western students are enrolled in either “STEM”
    (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or “H” (health professions)
    programs of study.

The top STEM-H programs, by enrollment:

  • Science
    (Associate of Science)
  • Nursing
    (Associate of Applied Science)
  • Engineering
    (Associate of Science)
  • Mechatronics
    (Associate of Applied Science)
  • Information
    Systems Technology: Network and Security Analyst (Associate of Applied Science)
  • Dental
    Hygiene (Associate of Applied Science)
  • 61
    percent of all program-placed students at Virginia Western receive some type of
    financial aid.
  • 47
    percent of all program-placed students are age 22 or older.

Source:
Virginia Western Community College Office of Institutional Effectiveness, based
on 2017-18 enrollment